Friday, January 25, 2019

A Little Thanks...and Off for a Few Days

Thank you all for the comments about the freezer and how you organise yours. I think part of the thing that is putting me off is that I know there are some things that will have to be thrown away and I feel really guilty about that so I've put off sorting out the freezer and organising. I am just going to take a deep breath, clear them out (we have a small one above the fridge and a chest freezer though I'd ideally like to get down to just the fridge one), and start fresh. Starting fresh will mean they will be organised, food will be used and there will be less waste. I'll have to deal with the feelings of guilt but knowing this will be the only time. We really don't need the larger freezer and I think that in itself is a waste as it's using unnecessary electricity.

I didn't go out today. It snowed quite a bit last night and it was really cold so I stayed inside. I had quite a bit to do as tomorrow morning I will be flying out to visit daughter and Shasta for a week. I'm second-guessing myself now. I will really enjoy seeing them all again, but it's going to be so cold I don't think we'll be doing much of anything except enjoying one another's company. She lives in Minnesota and it's even colder there than it is in Michigan. It's going to get down to -27F (-32C) one night and that doesn't even include the wind! The 'warmest' it's going to be is 6F (-14C). Daughter says it is too cold for even the dogs and they usually love the cold!

My flight is really early in the morning - 7am - and hopefully it will fly out despite the cold and snow. I'll check in during the week. I don't think I'll get a lot of outside photos but I will have 3 lovely huskies to take photos of!

Thursday, January 24, 2019

Another Day...and a question

Yesterday was a horrible weather day so I stayed inside. It made the day really long though. I can't wait for the warmer spring weather when I can get outside and enjoy the warmth and sunshine! It won't be happening for a while though. Sigh. Yesterday I talked with Mum for a while. I really enjoy our Wednesday chats. We always seem to end up talking about something and I usually learn something new about her.

Today I did manage to get out. There's supposed to be another snow storm on the way for tomorrow so I thought I'd make the most of it and get out, take a walk and run some errands. If I have to stay in on Friday at least I was out for a while today and put off most of the jobs for tomorrow. It was cold out again. Yesterday had been a little warmer so some of the snow melted and then refroze so the paths at the park were pretty icy and uneven. I had to really watch where I was stepping. The stream had defrosted a little so the ducks were back. I took some more food with me and they were really happy!

I even saw the heron flying about today. I thought they always left in the winter but apparently not. I usually catch a glimpse of it near/under one of the bridges.

I tried a new recipe for tonight. I had printed something off the Internet and then I tweaked it more for what I wanted to try. The guys really liked it so now I have to remember what I actually did! I forget to take a photo for it. I can't even remember where I got it now! I know that I liked the site as I was able to choose how many servings I wanted to make and it will tell me how much I needed for the number of servings I'd chosen. I'm trying to cut down on how much of something I make. I chose 3 servings but it certainly made more than that! I ended up freezing some and will do them in a couple of weeks.

Which brings me to another question - how do you organise your freezer? Especially for the items you cook and freeze. Do you have a rotation so things get used, but not repeated that often?

Thanks for reading and for the comments!

Tuesday, January 22, 2019's Cold

It's another cold day but for some reason today I'm really having trouble getting warm. I've turned the heat up, got my blanket on and I still can't get warm. Grrr…. I thought about getting in the bath, but that will have to wait as husband came home and took a shower and then son got home from working and ran a bath to warm up himself! If I'm still not warm later, after the water heats up again I might take one anyway.

I did get out for a walk today. I went over to the park. There weren't many geese around, only a couple who have trouble flying. I felt so bad for them. The stream/pond had mostly frozen over and they were sitting on the ice. I had taken some bird food (cracked corn) with me so gave them some of that. Later I found a few ducks on another part of the stream that wasn't quite as frozen and gave them some of the food too. I think it was too cold for even the squirrels as I didn't see any at all!

I admit today to spending far too much time reading. I got caught up in a really good book and had trouble putting it down enough so that I only did the basics. It was a book I'd picked up at the library bookshop and hadn't read as I wasn't quite sure I would like it (although at some point I must have liked the synopsis as I bought it!). As I'm determined to get through some of my book stash I had put it in my pile-to-read-soon. What an unexpected delight! The only problem now is that I want to read the others in the series.

I don't think I've read this author before but I really enjoyed this book!

There were lots of birds in the garden again eating a lot. We're supposed to get lots of different weather over the next 24 hours - rain, snow and freezing rain. Lovely!

Thanks for all the comments! I really appreciate them. If you leave a comment and have a blog please let me know so that I can check out your blog too.

Monday, January 21, 2019

Knit Slipper Pattern

Thanks for all the comments on the lovely slippers MIL made me. I asked her if she was willing to share her pattern. She said she got it off the Internet as a free pattern and shared the site with me.

Knit Slippers

She says it calls for wool but she uses Lion Brand Wool Ease as it is a little cheaper than wool. I might actually be brave enough to try the pattern one day!

It was really cold again today so I didn't go for a walk. We did go out yesterday and that was quite enough for me!

I had some puff pastry I needed to use so I with some of it I made sausage rolls

I also had some leftover mashed potatoes so I added some cheese and onion to it and used up the rest of the pastry to make some Cheese & Onion bakes. They turned out really tasty.

I will definitely be making those again!

It's supposed to warm up a little tomorrow so hopefully I'll get out for a walk!

Friday, January 18, 2019

Heading into the Weekend

We're under a Winter Weather Advisory with some snow forecast and really cold temperatures. Our low on Sunday night is supposed to be down to -22C (-7f) with highs only -9C (16F). If it's that cold out I'm not sure we'll go far although there might actually be some nice ice to be seen! It depends more on the roads I think. I will be breaking out my hand and toe warmers if we should venture out.

On the home front I'm still trying to search out new recipes. I picked up one of The Pioneer Woman's cookbooks just before Christmas when they were only $10. I really like her books and the recipes. They are quite down-to-earth. The books are fabulous, very colourful and detailed.

In this kind of weather you need something nice and warm and hearty - especially if son is working outside. He usually comes right home and has a bath - just to warm up I think! He's more of a shower guy but in the winter a bath can warm your insides right up too. I imagine some days he has to be cold to the bone.

Husband went over to MIL's yesterday to visit and came back with my lovely slippers that she'd made me. She made us all a pair last year for Christmas and I loved them! They are nice and warm and they stay on your feet! I've almost worn the old ones out so I asked if she could make me another pair.

I've been battling a headache all day. It sounds strange but I think it might be the weather front coming through. I haven't been able to shake it. It's one of those that make me sick to my stomach and probably won't go away until I sleep. Sigh.

I think the birds know something about the weather. They have been eating like crazy today! I've had to go out and put food on the table four or five times. Usually I only do it once in the daytime (hubby puts some out first thing).

I hope everyone had a good week and will have an enjoyable weekend.

Thanks to the people following me! I do appreciate you reading my ramblings.

Wednesday, January 16, 2019

Another Day...

Yesterday it was pretty icy and I didn't go far. Today the roads were better so I got out for a walk and to the shops. On Wednesday's I ring Mum too so we chatted for a while. I didn't get as much done as I wanted. I didn't get out until later for a walk and by the time I'd done that, gone to the shops and rang Mum time was marching on. I did do a little cross stitch and knit a few rows.

It's going to be a squirrel! I got the kit on sale one year while I was visiting Mum. I'm pleased to get a start on it and it seems quite fitting as I've been taking a lot of squirrel photos lately.

Monday, January 14, 2019

Monday Ramblings and Darning

It was really cold when I woke up this morning. It was -12C (10F) and when I did go out for my walk it was -7c (19F). I bundled up really warmly with long undies, hat, scarf and handwarmers tucked in my gloves. There weren't many people about - what a surprise!! I was quite disappointed in my walk. I saw lots of deer and got some photos for my black and white project but I couldn't walk all the way I wanted to as they were doing work on the trail. I think they are planning on expanding or something but there were so many industrial machines and they were pulling up places where the animals roam. I found it sad really. There was someone out (in a snow removal vehicle) clearing the path but it was making things worse, scraping of the layer of snow to reveal a sheet of ice below. At least with the snow on the path my boots had something to cling on to! I ended up walking alongside the cleared off path.

When I got home I was disappointed to see that my lovely thick socks had holes developing in the heels. I was thinking of darning (I'm not quite sure if that word is used in the states or what the equivalent is) them. I remember Mum would always be darning our socks. Nowadays it seems that we just go out and buy new ones. Does anyone do darning anymore? I love these socks and they were (although a present) quite expensive. It seems a shame not to darn them and continue to use. The same for one of the knit pairs of gloves I wear. This sounds strange, but I bit a hole in the top of one of the fingertips (it's a nervous habit to sort of chew on it).

As it's so cold today I put some chilli in the slow cooker. Son and husband will probably be quite cold when they get home from work. Son sometimes has to work outside. Middle son is coming up to visit too so there will be plenty for him to eat too. I'm working on my stitching while waiting for people to come home. The jobs I wanted done today are done. I'm starting on a list for tomorrow. There is ice/snow in the forecast and if the roads are slippery I shall be staying in tomorrow.

Photo from our cold but sunny walk yesterday!

Saturday, January 12, 2019

Saturday and an Icy Walk

Of course Saturday rolls around and it's gloomy, though that is pretty much standard most days in winter in Michigan. We usually do a small morning walk or trip as I get home by 12.30 my time (5.30pm Mum's) to Skype my Mum. We usually chat for an hour and a half and the time just flies by! It seems that no sooner do we start to chat before it's time to our weekly hug and say goodbye again. I ring her on Wednesdays too so we have a good old chat then too.

Our drive/walk this morning was over to the lakeshore. I'm attempting to do a black & white photography series of photos for my EDPS Camera Club (online) as my Big Project for the year. As the day was gloomy I thought that I could take photos of the rails leading up to the lighthouse. I love the lines. They are just fabulous and make lovely black and white photos. Anyway, we got to the lighthouse and there was fabulous ice beginning to form. It was so beautiful (if ice can be considered beautiful). The way the wind had blown and frozen the water was truly amazing.

I'm glad we didn't decide to just stay home!

Friday, January 11, 2019


I've been doing a bit of sorting. There wasn't a lot of rubbish to throw out, but lots of books around. Yikes. I've made a small pile of 'to-be-read-next'. I must have been in a romance reading mood when I picked them up at the library book shop as they all seem to be little romance books. They won't take long to read and if I start them and don't fancy reading them, I won't. I'll put them in the donate box. There are a few I do want to put up on so I can get some credits for books on my wish list. I usually only list those that people are already wishing for as that way the books don't sit in my house very long. The rest will go to the library bookshop.

I did get out for a walk today. It was quite cold and there is some snow on the ground, but the roads are clear. I took a walk in the woods. There wasn't too much to see. I did see a lovely pileated woodpecker (think the cartoon Woody Woodpecker). They are quite big. This one was quite noisy but flew around a lot and I couldn't get a good photo. I did take some photos of footprints. I think my son has an animal tracks book so I might see if I can figure out what they are. Suggestions would be appreciated!

Wednesday, January 9, 2019


Thanks for all the supportive comments yesterday. I didn't buy anything. Today was a new day. It was snowing and cold so I stayed inside. I've been out walking several days in a row so today I decided not to even bother going out. I did go up to my craft room for a little while and made a couple of cards - one with the topper I had put together the other day and another that I put together today.

This was the free set that came with a magazine (not sure which papercraft magazine!) but the papers are by Hunky Dory. They are of a really good quality. I'm not usually a flowery sort of person so that's probably why it's sat in my craft room for a while, but I really like the butterfly one. The papers are really pretty. I shall be using up the whole kit so there will be more cards to come!

And the two cards

I also tried out a new recipe today. I wasn't planning on a new recipe. I had purchased chicken thighs with a different recipe in mind but the one I had planned on using them for called for boneless skinless chicken thighs and I bought the ones with bones and skin. I know I could have fussed with them, but I don't eat meat so I really don't like messing with it too much. Instead I looked for something different to do with them. This got really good reviews and is really simple (not even sure I can call it a recipe!), but the guys really liked it! I served it with a jacket (baked) potato w/cheese. It was the perfect day to have the oven on for the potatoes. The guys said the skin was crispy, but the inside was nice and tender.

I found it on The oven temps are for American ovens

6 skin-on, bone-in chicken thighs
salt and ground pepper to taste
garlic powder

Preheat oven to 475F (245c). Set a wire rack inside a baking pan. Pat Chicken dry. Lift up skin, salt, pepper and sprinkle garlic powder. Season skin and underside of chicken thighs. Arrange on the rack. Roast in the preheated oven for 20 mins until golden brown. Reduce oven temp to 400f (200c). Continue roasting until juices run clear, about 30 minutes (mine took a little longer). Let rest 5 minutes before serving.

Tuesday, January 8, 2019

I Really, Really....

...want to buy something! Aarrggghh! It sounds stupid but I'm really struggling not to buy anything today. There are a couple of quite cheap books I'd like and some crafty stuff (that I don't really need) but it's just proving to be a tough day. I really just need to take a deep breath and not press that buy button!

I think, after hubby goes to bed, I might just pull out a tub and sort through it. I'm sure to discover some goodies I'd forgotten I had. I ordered something right before New Year that I'd forgotten I ordered! I got an email today telling me my order had shipped. I know I thought about ordering things from the British Shop but I didn't realise I'd actually pressed the button! In my defence it was New Year's Eve, I'd just gotten off the phone with Mum and I was homesick.

Today was a pretty blah day. I didn't get as much done as I wanted to. It was a bad back day. Sigh.

Monday, January 7, 2019

Monday Again

After a lovely sunny day yesterday we're back to clouds and rain today. I did manage a walk before it started to rain. I'm starting the week off with a new set of lists and things I want to get done. I have meals planned for the week and picked up most of what we needed today. There were a few things the shop was out of so I will head to another later in the week - list in hand so I don't get distracted!

I've done a little on my cross stitch - still not enough for anyone to see what it is. I was going to work on it today but the light isn't good. I started a new knit using up the horrible grey ball (that was supposed to be different shades of grey). It's not a challenging knit but it's something I can easily work on in the evening. I will pick out something more colourful to work on. I also have a couple of photography things I need to work on - one for my online camera club and another for the Mindful Photography course I'm taking online.

This morning when I checked my Instagram I was really pleased to see that Amy from Love Made my Home had decided to start blogging again! I loved reading her blog. She makes such gorgeous things. I have to admit when I first started blogging she was one of the people who inspired me (and inspired me to use up those little kits on the front of magazines!).

Today the photo I'm going to share is of my grumpy old cat, Shadow. He's getting on a bit now (aren't we all?). We got him when my son was about seven/eight. He is now twenty-seven. He was not pleased at all when I started taking photos of him. He finally got downright disgusted, stood up from his comfy spot, looked right at me, gave a large meow and wandered off to the kitchen. He's got a lot more vocal the older he's gotten.

What's everyone up to this week?

Saturday, January 5, 2019

Crafty Makes (cards)

I remembered to take a few phone photos of the cards I made with some of the decoupage toppers and a couple more decoupage toppers that I've put together. I am really enjoying these and they are good to have on hand! I will certainly look for more when I'm in England this summer.

And the toppers.

These are ready to be put on occasion cards  - birthdays, maybe a hello or a thank you card. I probably won't get up in my craft room again until Monday but will be doing some cross stitch this afternoon while there is good light.

Friday, January 4, 2019

Week in Review

I was quite pleased with what I got done this week.  I was careful about what I spent and really thought about what I was buying. I also made lists and pretty much stuck to them. It was nice seeing things written down and crossing them off when they got done. There wasn't always a really long list, but I'm mainly just trying to get used to writing things down. I did well with food lists too so I didn't end up buying lots while I was at the shops.

I did start a cross stitch project. I haven't done a lot on it, but it is all ready to go and a few stitches have been done. I'll share a photo when there's some progress. I am planning on picking out a knitting pattern this weekend.

I did get up into my craft room a little this week and got a few Christmas cards put together. I have really been enjoying doing the little 3d decoupage cards. I thought I'd taken photos, but apparently I haven't! I did take photos of the toppers, but not when they have been added to card bases.

They make lovely little cards! I really like the Belle and Boo. I have cross stitched a couple of the pictures for Mum so being able to make the cards was fun.

Hope everyone has a lovely weekend!

Wednesday, January 2, 2019

January Goals

Instead of New Year's Resolutions I decided to do monthly goals. These seem as though they will be a lot more manageable. I did make a couple of year goals but these are things that can be worked towards throughout the year. 


Crafty Goals

* Learn to crochet - I started this with Mum last year but there were so many lovely days when I visited her that we didn't spend a lot of time inside! I'd like to be able to surprise her when I go with some sort of (small!) finished crochet.

* Use what's on hand! I have a lot of craft items and I want to make sure I use what I have. I did really well with this last year especially with cross stitch as I bought very few (some magazines) new items! I refrained from buying any kits at all - this was quite challenging while I was visiting mum!

Photography Goals

* I want to learn how to do long exposure photography - this is something I will probably do when we're camping.

* Black and White photography - I've been doing some of this, but I got a lovely book for Christmas so I definitely want to do more!

Financial Goals

* Be more conscious of where our money goes - spend less, use more of what we have. Be conscious of what I'm spending.

* Save more!

Okay. Enough of that. Those are general goals. 


I hope that, by posting these each month, it will help me keep on track. 


$25 per week each holiday fund 1 and holiday fund 2
$10 per month book spending (this is a REALLY tough one for me!)
$10 crafty spending (I will be going to daughter's at the end of the month and I'll set myself a separate limit for that trip)
$100 per week for food/paper products
Keep track of spending!


Start new knitting project
Start new cross stitch project
Start a 2019 photography journal


Wipe all the walls and ceiling in the kitchen
Meal planning weekly - including 1 new recipe per week
sort table/cubby between chairs in living room
sort things by my chair including cubes. 
sort out 15 books/10 other items to donate/sell (that would include actually listing on Ebay lol).

This is my list for now. I did keep up with my 2018 photo journal (I'm waiting for December photos to arrive!). Here's a few pages. I really enjoyed this. It was a very manageable project. 

Tuesday, January 1, 2019

And the Word of the Year is...

(drum roll)…strive.

I must admit to going back and forward with my Word of the Year since I've started thinking about it. Several were short-listed (yes, I've been thinking about it THAT much!).


These are the ones that made the short list. I wrote them down yesterday. At that point I still wasn't sure what my word was going to be. It just wasn't coming to me at all. I decided to just put them away and think on it - maybe even for a few days. Then, on our way home from our walk this morning, I was checking my Instagram and saw a post about a word and followed the link to Dicky Bird's Nest (Jacky's) blog and was reading about her new word for this year. When I saw that her word in 2018 was strive I thought that sounded like a good one, like it fit what I was looking to do in 2019, so I looked up the definition. It wasn't until I got home that I saw it was on the short list!

Definition of Strive: - to make great efforts to obtain or achieve something

So that's the word I've chosen. There are several things I want to achieve (including all the words shortlisted!).

I've also come up with some January goals that I'll share tomorrow.  Do you have a word of the year? Or goals you want to obtain? Happy New Year!